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not five years would elapse, after the repeal of the Corn Laws, before other nations would follow in our suit. How far Cobden's anticipations have been realised, has been left for the present generation to determine. And it is possible, nowadays, seeing that free-trade enthusiasm is already on the wane, to analyse, without fear of being thought insane, the extraordinary errors of a great man, and to learn how they led him insidiously into a trade policy which was assumed (and in some way was) successful at first, but which was sure to be destructive after the beneficial stimulation of other forces had disappeared.

applied not simply to commerce, but to every item of the tariffs of the world; and if we are not mistaken in thinking that our principles are true, be assured that those results will follow, and at no very distant period.

CHAPTER V.

THE DIRECT EFFECTS OF FREE TRADE ON AGRICULTURE, REMOTE EFFECTS UPON LABOUR GENERALLY.

"Was there ever successful impostor who did not commence by a fraud on his own understanding ?"—Lord Lytton.

THE FREE-TRADE ELEMENTS TO DETERMINE A "STEADY AND FIXED" PRICE OF CORN HAVE VERY CONSIDERABLY VARIED—" FREE TRADE AND ABUNDANCE," SO LONG AS WE ARE ABLE TO PURCHASE SUPPLIES FROM ABROAD—HUSKISSON AND THE CORN LAW: "l AM NOT ONE OF THOSE WHO WISH TO LESSEN THE RANK WHICH THE AGRICULTURISTS HOLD IN THIS COUNTRY "—RISE IN PRICES DUE TO CORN SPECULATION—COBDEN ASSERTED FARMERS SOLD THEIR CORN AT THE LOWEST, THAT THE CORN SPECULATOR SOLD AT THE HIGHEST PRICES—COBDEN ALSO STATED THAT CORN LAW RUINED THE CORN SPECULATORS !—THE MACHINERY BY WHICH PRICE OF CORN WAS REGULATED HAD ITS DEFECTS—THE BEST PART OF THE LAW WAS BLAMED FOR THE DEFICIENCIES OF THE WORST—FREE TRADE AND STARVATION—THE DISPLACEMENT OF LABOUR—THE LOGICAL CONCLUSION OF FREE TRADE DRIVING CAPITAL FROM LESS TO MORE REMUNERATIVE CHANNELS — THE FREE-TRADERS STAND UPON HYPOTHETICAL POSITIONS OF THEIR OWN CONSTRUCTION — THEIR AIM WAS TO FORCE THE WORLD'S COMMERCE TO ASSUME THOSE POSITIONS—ALL OTHER NATIONS NOT FREE-TRADERS!

§ 11. Cobden's factors for the future price of com.—To remove the especial cause of scarcity—a hypothetical scarcity—and to ensure an abundance of cheap food, were the objects of a free intercourse in corn. Thus the fitful character of the country's demand for a supply of the chief necessary of life was destroyed. Occasional demands became permanent ones, and with the permanency in the demand for corn by a free-trade nation, a new field was opened up to foreign corn-growing States.

Nobody will dispute the tendency of the foreigner to increase his productions when he has a market which will freely admit them. But this tendency of course has its limits, and those limits are—(1) the lowest price at which corn can be grown at a profit in corn-growing countries; and (2), increase of corn-land under cultivation from accession of capital to foreign agriculture. Now it seems the Corn-Law repealers deduced the single limit, which they applied to this tendency, from past experience of the quantity of imported corn. Does it occur to the reader that such was a safe treatment of the issue in point? If there be any doubt, it will at once be dissipated when this factor is brought out clearly into the foreground—the circumstance that the conditions affecting the foreign supply were not the same after as they were before the abolition of the Corn Laws.1 If the conditions were to remain the same, then the freetraders would have been justified in drawing those inferences and that conclusion which they drew before 1845. But though the form of their argument is correct, its substance is unsound in so far as the major premiss is concerned. They assumed that a free trade in corn would make up the deficiency arising from bad

1 Cobden argued as if they would continue the same. To strengthen his conclusion, he states there was a virtual repeal during 1839-41. There was, however, no ground for such a procedure.

seasons. Only " let the foreigner see what the English market is in its natural state, and then they will be able to judge from year to year and from season to season what will be the future demand of this country for foreign corn."1 Thus they argued that it was the reverse of likely to expect the country being swamped with foreign corn. "Point out the places where the corn is to grow," they exclaimed; and then consider the expense of conveying it to our ports. It was on this ground—viz., that the home corn market would not be depressed by competition2—that they gained an easy victory over their opponents. But in all questions affecting mutable factors, to take a "present" view does not suffice. It is requisite, if you do not wish to court disaster, to contemplate what will happen as the future consequences of alterations. We instance the very extensive changes that have taken place, nor have they ceased to take place, in the conditions affecting the home corn markets. "Valleys of corn " have sprung up, and that, too, in spite of the ridicule which Cobden threw upon the suggestion. The price of corn abroad has constantly descended, though Cobden promised the tenant-farmers that it would not fluctuate to their disadvantage.3 And the explanation is very simple. The the fitful character of the country's demand for a supply of the chief necessary of life was destroyed. Occasional demands became permanent ones, and with the permanency in the demand for corn by a free-trade nation, a new field was opened up to foreign corn-growing States.

1 P. 185. Such could only occur if prices were regulated by the home market.

2 The reader will remember that competition was to stimulate the home corn markets, and enable the British farmer to grow one-fourth more. It was also to make England a corn-exporting country. He will also remember that Cobden denounced protection as being the cause of agricultural depression.

3 Cobden anticipated a descent of price to the extent of 6s.—from 56s. to 50s. This conclusion he drew from considering England and Jersey as parallel cases—vide p. 72. But the prospect of feeding a

Nobody will dispute the tendency of the foreigner to increase his productions when he has a market which will freely admit them. But this tendency of course has its limits, and those limits are—(1) the lowest price at which corn can be grown at a profit in corn-growing countries; and (2), increase of corn-land under cultivation from accession of capital to foreign agriculture. Now it seems the Corn-Law repealers deduced the single limit, which they applied to this tendency, from past experience of the quantity of imported corn. Does it occur to the reader that such was a safe treatment of the issue in point? If there be any doubt, it will at once be dissipated when this factor is brought out clearly into the foreground—the circumstance that the conditions affecting the foreign supply were not the same after as they were before the abolition of the Corn Laws.1 If the conditions were to remain the same, then the freetraders would have been justified in drawing those inferences and that conclusion which they drew before 1845. But though the form of their argument is correct, its substance is unsound in so far as the major premiss is concerned. They assumed that a free trade in com would make up the deficiency arising from bad

1 Cobden argued as if they would continue the same. To strengthen his conclusion, he states there was a virtual repeal during 1839-41. There was, however, no ground for such a procedure.

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